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IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Microsoft Clutter (Focused Inbox)

Clutter is an Office 365 tool that filters the messages in your Outlook inbox and moves out those that it predicts are not important to you. The messages are moved to a folder called Clutter.

Focused Inbox is Microsoft’s long-term replacement for Clutter. For more information, see this post from the Outlook Blog from December 2017. From the blog post:

“With Focused Inbox now rolled out, we’d like to share more about our plans for Clutter. As we mentioned in July [2017], Focused Inbox is the long-term replacement for Clutter. It carries forward Clutter’s capabilities but removes the need to visit a separate folder to check your less-actionable messages. Because Clutter and Focused Inbox use the same algorithms for sorting messages, there are no changes to how email is classified, just a better user experience.

We’ll continue to make Clutter available to Office 365 customers until January 31, 2020. To prepare for Clutter’s eventual retirement, we’ve turned the feature off by default for new users. It’s also deactivated for those with extremely low usage (less than 12 emails per month being moved to the Clutter folder), however they can re-enable Clutter at any time, if desired.”

Bypass Clutter handling for critical messages

If your unit sends email messages with content of critical importance to UW users it may be possible to have those messages exempted from being placed in the Clutter folder. Please contact help@uw.edu for more information.

Note: The existence of a folder called Clutter does not mean that the feature has been enabled.

To Enable or Disable Clutter for Your Account

  1. StepsActions
  2. Go to OWA (Outlook Web Access).
  3. In the top-right corner of the screen, click the gear icon, and then towards the bottom of the gear menu click Mail under Your app settings.
  4. On the left side of the screen, click the arrow to the left of the word Mail to expand the list.
  5. Expand the Automatic processing option if it is not already expanded.
  6. Click Clutter
    • If Clutter is enabled, the option Separate items identified as clutter is selected.
    • If Clutter is disabled, the option is not selected.
  7. To enable or disable Clutter, select the appropriate option.
  8. Click Save.

If Clutter is on but not working

Turn it off then back on, i.e. disable Clutter and then re-enable Clutter for your account.

Clutter learns from your actions on messages

Clutter learns from your actions to determine the messages you are likely to ignore. You must train Clutter to know what is important to you by moving emails that you want to pay attention to out of the Clutter folder and by moving unwanted items in.

Retention policy on the Clutter folder

The Clutter folder is a system-created folder. You cannot delete it, nor can you control retention policy for that folder. The Clutter retention policy is to never delete, unlike the Junk Email folder, where content is deleted after 180 Days.